Money raised for team will support families affected by spina bifida
by Sally Litchfield
October 20, 2013 12:24 AM | 3505 views | 2 2 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Mary Kalafut, left, with Lainey Barfield, 7, and her mother, Kim Barfield, stand at the Harrison High School track and field stadium. Kalafut will run in the Marine Corp. Marathon on Oct. 27 in Washington D.C. in support of programs and services that help people and families affected by spina bifida. <br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Mary Kalafut, left, with Lainey Barfield, 7, and her mother, Kim Barfield, stand at the Harrison High School track and field stadium. Kalafut will run in the Marine Corp. Marathon on Oct. 27 in Washington D.C. in support of programs and services that help people and families affected by spina bifida.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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When Kim Barfield contacted her friend, Mary Kalafut, about running the Marine Corp Marathon on Oct. 27 in Washington D.C. as a fundraiser for Team Spina Bifida, Kalafut couldn’t say no. Barfield’s daughter, Lainey, was born with spina bifida. Spina bifida means “split spine.”

“I’m doing the marathon for Lainey. I would do anything to help Lainey and kids. It’s a no-brainer to me to try to give back and help kids,” said Kalafut, an Acworth resident who has run the Marine Corp Marathon three times and participated in other events such as the Ironman Competition. She and her husband, Chris, have five children.

“Spina bifida occurs when the spine does not fuse, leaving an open wound on the back of the newborn. There is no cure for spina bifida,” Barfield said.

Barfield met Kalafut when her son, Ben, and Kalafut’s son, Christopher, were in kindergarten together. Seven-year-old Lainey was born when the boys, now freshmen at Harrison High School, were in third grade. The Barfields have another son, Whit, a junior at Harrison.

Children with spina bifida often have multiple complications and surgeries such as neurological (shunt implantation for hydrocephalus), orthopedics (leg and spine surgery), wound care, urologic (bladder and bowel procedures), as well as latex allergies that are sometimes deadly.

“It is not uncommon to hear that a child with spina bifida could have more than 25 operations before they reach their 18th birthday. There is a reason they are called Million Dollar Babies,” said Barfield, a Kennesaw resident.

Barfield said life with Lainey can be demanding, with many trips to the hospital, surgeries, weekly trips to therapists and getting her into and out of a wheelchair.

“These are offset by watching a bright, cheerful girl overcome these challenges without ever complaining. Lainey is an amazing child that brings joy to everyone that knows her. It is an honor that God chose me to be her mom,” Barfield said.

The money raised for Team Spina Bifida supports important programs and services to help people and families affected by spina bifida. Their goal is to raise $5,000. A tax-deductible gift can be made at tinyurl.com/okpt49l.

“Your support means so much to not only Lainey and me, but also to the thousands of people living with spina bifida,” Barfield said.

Comments
(2)
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Tanya Miller
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October 24, 2013
My son Ethan was born Christmas Day 2008 with the most rarest form of Spina Bifida. I am from BC Canada and wanna say.. Keep up the good work. :)
Lisa F.
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October 20, 2013
Good luck Mary on the marathon. Raising awareness and funds is an awesome way to show support for Lainey, her family and all kids born with spina bifida.
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